Introducing This Year’s Career Initiatives Grantees

The Western Mass RLC’s 2015/2016 Career Initiatives Grants were awarded and officially began in September, 2015. These grants are intended to support individuals who might otherwise not have access to the needed resources to pursue independent projects or start small businesses. This year’s awards are as follows:

Andrea A (Franklin County)—Andrea is continuing her project to raise awareness of lifestyle and community spirit through photography. This project is an artistic and professional photography pursuit with an intensive concentration on photo-editing and creating prints.

Tom B (Hampden County)—Tom will be developing a do-it-yourself production of T-shirts with green-centered production values and accessibility to the homeless community. These T-shirts will be original works of art that will be made available in person and online.
 
Ursula C (Franklin County)—Ursula will be developing a collection of audio/radio stories that focus on people who identify as psychiatric survivors. Through personal testimony and documenting moments of joy, pain and resilience, this collection of stories aims to add to the complicated and nuanced conversations about mental health.
 
Debra D (Hampshire County)—Is continuing to develop an in-home private dog-training and dog-sitting services, expanding the marketing and reach of the business.
 
Sam H (Hampden County)—Sam will be building community through an extensive video recording and archival of our vibrant local music scene.
 
Charles K (Hampden County)—Charles will be working on a project called ‘Saving History and Creating the Future.’ His goal is to obtain, rehabilitate and have people occupy older buildings, so that working people can live in their own homes, and advance to a better life from a stock of neglected and abandoned structures in the area. He will then work to create and share the findings/learnings in a handbook so others can do the same.
 
Vanessa L (Hampden County)—Vanessa will be developing a multimedia project/photo exhibit (B1M: Return of the Matriarchs) as an act of decolonization. It encourages those who come into contact with it to question     where they stand in the ongoing colonization of the earth. It is deeply influenced by a personal trip to Barbados, in which the artist/activist traces her roots to her grandmother, and all of the strong black women who have thrived despite constant attempts to suppress their deep magic. It is in honor of the ancestors and the land which sustains us all. (See page 6 of our full newsletter for additional details on an upcoming showing of Vanessa’s exhibit.)
 
Cindi O (Franklin County)—Cindi will work on advancing her skills as a teaching artist in order to supplement income as an independent artist, and provide quality art instruction to adults in the Greenfield community.
 
Theresa T (Hampden County)—Theresa will work on a project called ‘Creating Healing Images of Light and Hope.’ Through photo-journaling and formal studies, this project aims to explore, document and share personal and professional growth as an artist, photograph and social activist.
 
Joseph S (Berkshire County)—Joseph will be working on the expansion of the quantity and quality of an already established lawn care business. He will seek to further skills in business management and sustainability.